look mom, real sewing!

i have to say that my absolutely favorite part of crafting and creating handmade things is the pure thrill that comes from taking a pile of supplies:
and making them into a lovely little something:

i finished this little sundress for my niece all in one afternoon. it was the one finished project i ended up with out of my three day memorial day weekend. (that's not to say the only project started, of course, but the only one finished). a few glitches in the plan aside, it turned out pretty much how i expected/wanted it to. now we'll see if it actually fits her, since the only semblance of measuring i did was hold up a piece of the ribbon across a dress in the store that was a size 2t in attempts to make this one turn out size 2t. at least the ribbon straps are adjustable. hmm... we'll see.

now if i can just get my little studio elf to quit "helping"... see the pretty pink fabric in the above picture? she ate a good six inches off one side. the nice white spool of thread? yep. ate it. no more rope toys for you dog! (or maybe i could just quit leaving supplies within her reach).

i used to be scared of the sewing machine... couldn't really tell you why... but i feel like i have conquered it (the fear, not the sewing machine. you still never know what a sewing machine will spit out at you next). i was proud of myself for finishing this entire little dress without having to call my mom in tears because the bobbin had run out of thread and i didn't know how to take the bobbin out, much less reload it with thread and put it back in. and the sewing machine, from what i can tell, seems to have escaped the project unscathed.

my sweet husband matt read my last post about all the craft supplies i am craving, and today a package arrived from stampington with mica tiles, pendant forms, and a silver box of tiny tins! so now i have no excuse not to get busy creating... except for the fact that i have a new list of things i absolutely need. but we all know how that goes.

i've decided to do a little spring cleaning in the shop... i keep making things and then liking them so much i want to keep them, which makes the things that do end up in the shop feel like leftovers. so i've got lots of new things and i've pulled some old things to remake them... i hope to photograph them this weekend so that i can start posting them throughout the first week or two of june. i also need to do a little tweaking on the shipping rates, which is not the fun part, since usps has raised prices again. i'll post a little announcement when it's all ready to be unveiled.

i've also got thoughts swimming around about the possibility of launching a secondary little shop... ellebee baby, for all things bibs, baby afghans, crocheted hats or maybe booties, etc... but there i go again, biting off more than i'm ready to chew! more on that later.


big ol' shopping list!

i recently discovered this lovely source for all kinds of interesting crafting supplies... stampington & co. i thought it would be fun (kind of like window shopping) to make a list of everything i would buy had i the unlimited resources to do so (ooh i can imagine the boxes and boxes arriving at my door)...
  1. metal index tabs for the handmade day planner i haven't yet given up on making.

2. pendant forms for collage- and resin-filling.

3. wire forms such as a suitcase for display and an eiffel tower, well, just because i could.

4. a price tag punch -that green one right at the top.

5. bunches of blank greeting cards because cutting your own to fit leftover envelopes can get old.

6. miles and miles of leaf ribbon for the most beautiful gift wrap ever.

7. these ridiculously cool paints in every color they make them.

8. slide-mount like paper frames. lots and lots and lots.

9. a non-stick craft surface .

10. button and ribbon punches to add to my tool box.

11. walnut inks and stains , if i wasn't so cheap i'd already own some of this.

12. a roll of every single type of foil tape ever made. LOVE it.

13. lots of twill ribbon tape .

14. tons of tiny tins! great for storage and other fun uses... i made a cool set of personalized shadowbox ornaments with them two or three christmases ago:

the picture is not the best, but this is literally *right* after we first bought the xt. my name is written in reverse on the inside of the glass cover ( i did one of these individually for each member of my family... let's just say backward writing is not my forte!).back to the list.

15. more vellum and vellum adhesive because i'm very curious about it.

16. awesome self-stick magic mesh, i think a strip of white would make the perfect picket fence in a scrapbook or altered book.

17. everything you ever needed to carve stamps which i think would be a very cool experiment. there's a link on the left of my blog to a great tutorial by abby from portland who was one of the first crafty blogs i stumbled across

18. watch findings

19. mica tiles!

20. a steel alphabet stamp set for making pendants and jewelry tags

21. and staz-on inks in all the colors!!! (plus cleaner)

wow, that was the imaginary equivalent of throwing everything in the cart and saying i'll take it all! maybe someday, but for now i'll definitely be breaking up that wish list into little pieces.

my current projects are for my niece and nephew... a little blue and white baby afghan for my nephew that is actually just a huge overgrown granny square (that i finally figured out the pattern for) and a little pink sundress for my niece's third birthday next month. the little-boy-baby afghan in progress:

i found some adorable pink strawberry print fabric that was already pre-smocked into a stretchy band across the top. it's just the right width for a little girl dress or an adult babydoll top... i got green and white polka-dot ribbon to make a little waistband and ribbon tied straps. it seems simple enough in my head, but we'll see how it actually turns out. i have a fantastic sewing machine on loan from my mom, and i've been itching to really make some cool things with it. i've never been big into sewing from scratch from patterns (too much measuring, i think) but i feel like i should be able to take on alterations and simple construction.

hopefully my next entry won't be all about how i tied my mom's bernina 1530 in one giant knot.


back to inspiration

ok, third time's the charm! i've started this entry two previous times, and let's just say i'm having a bit of technical difficulties...i spent a deliciously solitary day at the flea market last saturday instead of feeling sorry for myself that my husband had to work and i hadn't taken the time to see if anyone could come out and play. i've been trying to take a small break from incessantly stressing over promoting the shop by searching out some inspiration for new creations. i had a bit of success with the sewn-paper greeting cards, but am still waiting on the big breakthrough for my main creative outlet, which is jewelry. i've started to feel that my items for sale are a little bland, and much less one-of-a-kind than the ones i make and end up keeping fo myself, so i thought a search through the crazy mix of junk and treasure would be a good, wide-open start. the weather was fabulous, and it was a great day.

i started out by eating a hugemongous apple, sustenance for the shopping ahead...

there were lovely quilts and worn, weathered furniture,

and i searched through literally trailers full of incredibly cool wrought iron pieces from one of my favorite vendors.

as you can imagine, i spent forever trying to decide which strands out of this sea of beads needed to come home with me (they were all a temptation) and actually gave my business card to two ladies i'd been chatting with about jewelry construction.

in the end, here's what i came away with... my $20 haul!

the flowers are sitting outside on our new picnic table, the wrought iron cross is hanging near the woodpile, the three wrought iron hooks are going to be made into an entryway key catcher, and i chose a strand of minty-green sesame jasper and one of really beautiful darker green pearls.

completely by accident and in a moment of self-pity that i needed some focus and direction for my creativity, i stumbled upon the last 15 minutes of a midnight madness at our local a.c. moore. since everything would be 25% off, i picked up some new supplies in a mad flurry. i actually tend to make better decisions through this method of selection since i don't have time to agonize over every purchase and second-guess whether or not i really like it... it's sink or swim, live or die, love or hate shopping, and i always end up with the best stuff this way (it works well for shopping for clothes too, which is a whole other monster). i discovered, and stocked up on, a lovely new stone that i've never heard of called hami jasper. it's a beautiful dusty aquamarine color, with swirls of sandy taupe. i searched for pictures of it, but this is the best i could do. it's gorgeous though, and i've already used some of it to revamp an old necklace. i may have to go back and get some more, even if only to stockpile it like i do with all of the ingredients i have that are just too pretty to use. the other great discovery of that trip was the latest issue of belle armoire jewelry... some of their stuff can get a little too unwearably funky and ornate, but it was really interesting to read about some of the artists and their artistic process. i know it may take time to really develop a "voice" in the things i make by hand, but it's nice to hear that everybody who creates starts out completely unsure of themselves, and some can end up featured in this really cool magazine inspiring others.

though completely unrelated... i found out today that i will finally have to have my wisdom teeth removed, as one has completely broken apart. i'm actually relieved, because visions of root canals and crowns were dancing in my head, taunting the really irrational anxiety i always have when it comes to dental work of any kind. i've been stressing over it for the entire week since it broke, and it sounds strange, but i was so glad to hear they could just remove them and i wouldn't have to worry about fixing them at all... never thought i'd be glad to hear the words "tooth extraction" but i definitely was. i was so flooded with relief, i came straight home and took a nap (i'd taken the day off work because i thought i'd be going through hours of drilling and numb cheeks). it will be great to have an excuse to sit on the couch all weekend watching movies, eating nothing but mashed potatoes and smoothies, and taking top-shelf painkillers... all with a legitimate excuse. yessssss. i'm thinking of getting one of these little cuties to commemorate the occasion. may actually wear it right into surgery. i'm also intruigued by tooth soap.

all that to say, i'm exhausted from my "day off" and ready for a good night's sleep. stay tuned for my mother of all wishlists for crafting materials (someone found a new online shop, methinks) and perhaps a photo or two of a super special necklace i have in mind to make my mom for upcoming mother's day.


support an artist, buy handmade!

i've fallen into the dangerous trap of realizing that i can buy handmade loveliness on etsy, as well as sell! my favorites list keeps growing and growing, and my husband knows that it is the first stop to look for a present for me... recently i've bought these beefy little magnets and commissioned an anniversary present that looks like it turned out absolutely phenomenally! so here is a friendly little invite to anyone who may be reading this... support and artist, buy handmade! there are so many beautiful and well made things out there!

i also discovered a cool little feature of etsy, it's called a mini and i think it's awesome!


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